15 tips on how to safely light your fireworks on New Year's Eve

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15 tips on how to safely light your fireworks on New Year's Eve
It’s almost impossible to believe it’s nearly January 1st.

Those who are planning to light firecrackers on New Year's Eve should know that accidents can and do happen, despite your best precautions.

Here's a list of things before setting off your own explosives, with reminders about kids, pets and how you buy the fireworks.

1.  Buy fireworks only from reliable sources. They’re only safe if they’ve come from someone who knows how to make them. If you’re unsure whether a roadside fireworks dealer is selling legally, ask the tindera to show their license to sell fireworks. Avoid purchasing illegal fireworks such as Piccolo (sometimes labeled as Pacquiao), Goodbye Bading, Goodbye Colombia, Bin Laden, Super Lolo, Super Yolanda, Pla Pla, among others.

2.  Read and follow the label directions. All professionally made, legal fireworks should have igniting instructions on the packaging. It’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often people ignore the directions.

3.  Store your fireworks and sparklers out of the reach of children, preferably in a cool and dry place like a locked cupboard or drawer. Make sure they can’t get to them by storing them properly.

4.  Don't let your kids light fireworks under any circumstances, even if they want to. Even sparklers are known to cause severe burns. Ensure that children, and any other spectators, stand far back (at least 50 feet from the area where you’ll be lighting the fireworks.

5.  Use fireworks outdoors only. Keep them away from trees, dry grass, cars, gasoline tanks, and other containers of flammable liquids or materials.

6. Set off fireworks only when sober and alert. Being short of sleep, or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can affect your judgment and coordination--two things you really need when setting off fireworks.

7.  Always light any fireworks from a flat surface, or in the case of rockets, a pipe or bottle. angled on a trajectory away from spectators and combustibles.

8.  Have plenty of water handy and nearby (garden hose and bucket) to soak fireworks after firing or in case vegetation or clothing catch fire. To be extra safe, have a fire extinguisher nearby as well.

9.  Never use fireworks hand-held. Light them one at a time, at arms length, standing back and keeping your face away. If you can do it with the use of a longer lighting device, the better. When igniting fireworks in the dark, use a headlamp, flashlight, or other non-flammable light source to help you see clearly what you’re lighting.

10.  Don't attempt to relight a dud. It could still go off and have even less of a wick. Let it sit for several minutes and then douse it with water.

11.  Douse sparklers with water and allow them to cool in a safe place away from children. The ends of sparklers remain hot for some time, and will easily burn a child’s skin, clothing, or nearby combustible material.

12.  Using fireworks or sparklers indoors is a no-no. They can produce fire and smoke, which can burn or set fire to many interior surfaces, and cause suffocation in small rooms.

13.  Don't carry fireworks in your pocket. They’re explosives and can go off prematurely even if they’re not lit.

14.  Don't light fireworks in metal or glass containers. Most fireworks explode when lit inside very tight and enclosed receptacles.

15.  Don't let your pets out during your fireworks display. They’re easily frightened and could run away. And even if you’re not lighting fireworks, others in your neighborhood might. Keep them indoors that night and calm them down if they get panicky.


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